Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties is a lot better than I thought it would be. Kids would love it, and it’s not too obnoxious for adults.
It’s a decent story for kids. Just before he’s planning to propose to her, Jon Arbuckle’s girlfriend, Liz, announces that she’s been scheduled at the last minute to speak at a conference in London, and she must leave right away. Jon decides to follow her there to pop the question. Garfield wants to interfere, so he and Odie smuggle themselves in Jon’s luggage.
In London, a case of mistaken identity finds Garfield ruling over a castle, but his reign is quickly jeopardized by the nefarious Lord Dargis (Connolly), who has designs on the estate.
This film works because the Garfield character is done well, and the key to that performance is Bill Murray’s voice talent. He pulls off most of the lines with his characteristic dry sense of humour. It’s strange to think that this is the same guy from Lost in Translation. At the same time, Tim Curry’s performance as the voice of Prince, the other CGI cat who just happens to look exactly like Garfield, is another strong point for the film. Throw in a respectable cast that includes Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connoly and Roger Rees, and you a have film with some weight to it.
Overall, this film is short, light and sure to be entertaining for the little ones. So how’s the DVD?
Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties is presented on single disc with two versions of the film available: The original theatrical version in 4:3 full screen, and the extended edition in 1.85:1 widescreen, which adds about seven minutes to the film.
No matter which you choose, you’re in for a rough ride. This transfer is absolutely atrocious, and Fox should be ashamed of themselves. I could not believe how bad this movie looks. So much of the film is horribly pixilated that it’s the good looking shots that throw you, because they seem so out of place. There is absolutely no excuse for a transfer like this.
If it’s any consolation, the menus are nicely animated, with music.
Thankfully, the audio is much better than the video. There’s a range of audio tracks available here: English Dolby Digital 5.1, and French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The 5.1 mix is just fine, as all dialogue is clear, and the score fills out the front sound stage nicely. The rear channels don’t get much use, but then this isn’t really that type of film.
Spanish subtitles are also available.
The bonus material include one featurette, an exclusive Garfield comic strip, a music video, and two games.
Drawing with Jim Davis is a featurette in three parts: How to Draw Garfield, How to Draw Odie and How to Draw Pooky. They each run about three minutes, and they feature Jim Davis talking his way through quick marker drawings of these characters. It’s neat to see Jim at work, and I’m sure kids will get something out of this, but I would rather have seen Jim create a full strip, from initial idea to finished work.
The exclusive Garfield comic strip is exactly what it says. We get a still shot of all three panels, and then can cycle through them individually. It’s been a long, long time since I thought Garfield was funny, but this one isn’t bad.
The music video, Come and Get It is worth watching just to see how good the main movie’s video transfer could have looked. The video is basically just a clip fest accompanied by a so-so song with a decent beat, but the transfer looks very nice.
The games are as lame as all DVD games are. I can’t see why any kids would want to spend time with these, since they probably have a PS2 or GameCube to play. Heck, even a game of Go Fish with a plain old deck of cards would be way better than these games.
Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties is a short, funny movie, and definitely suitable for any kids in your life. Adults won’t be turned off, but they won’t be clamoring to watch it a second time, either. Unfortunately, the DVD’s video presentation is the worst I’ve ever seen. Your kids may not notice, but just so you feel better, track down a previously viewed copy at a discounted price.
Special Features List
- Widescreen extended version and full-screen theatrical version
- “Drawing with Jim Davis” featurette
- Exclusive Garfield comic strip
- “Odie’s Photo Album” game
- “Garfield’s Maze” game
- Music video